It was a real pleasure to be in London to meet the cast of Justice League. Ben Affleck (Batman), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), Ezra Miller (the Flash), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), and Ray Fisher (Cyborg) were all very warm and friendly.
It made the 14 hours to fly to London (and another two hours to clear immigration and get from Heathrow to town) all worthwhile.
It is very rare to get all the cast together in one room like this, and even more precious to be able to meet them. I told Gal that Joy, my youngest, was a fan, and that she watched the Wonder Woman movie more than once. And also thanked Gal for being a strong role model for girls.
Ben Affleck was amused at how my blue hair and clothes all matched.
Thanks to Warner Brothers for inviting me to be at this special fan event.
Long before social media, and Facebook, there was mrbrown.
The comedic alter ego of Lee Kin Mun, mrbrown rose to fame in the early 2000s on the back of the mrbrown show, a podcast that Lee and his friend, Benjamin Lee — who played Mr. Miyagi — created with the help of writers like Marc Nair. Hilarious trash-talk and incisive socio-political commentary and satire, combined with his eponymous blog, made mrbrown a certified hit.
These are the X- mini INFINITI speakers. I’m trying them out in my home and so far, I like how they sound. Clean and balanced, fills the room.
They are Bluetooth wireless, so you can use them anywhere but you have to charge them first. My main gripe with them is that they don’t ship with a charger, but they come with only a USB-A to USB-C cable. Seems like an oversight for a premium-priced speaker like this.
The 10,000mAh battery inside should give you about four hours at max volume. These are not speakers you take with you when you travel but maybe something you drag out to the patio for a party. Because they are heavy at 4kg EACH.
I am trying to wrap my mind around the use case for the X- mini™ INFINITI. Are they home speakers? If so, you have to find your own charging solution as the charger is not included.
Are they move around-the-house speakers? If so, then eventually you will need to lug both 4kg speakers to a power socket and charge them with your own charger (2.5 hours minimum).
I like their CLICK 2 speakers. The use case is obvious with the tiny and loud little fella. These larger cousins of the X-mini range, I’m not so sure.
Still, they sound good and pair with each other easily (you get left-right pairing when you turn both on). You can use the INFINITI alone or as a stereo pair.
Personally, I think they should come with a USB-C charger. That way, one can get the internal battery charged up quickly.
Also useful is the Aux-in port behind the speaker. For when you need to connect a player directly.
I am in San Jose at the moment, recovering from a mad day of covering the 12th September 2017 Apple keynote at Apple's HQ, Apple Park. And since I am still jet-lagged and awake at 2.30am, I thought I would write my thoughts on the iPhone 8 series vs the iPhone X.
I am sure you by now, you have seen or read about the Apple keynote, and questions are flying around.
Questions like, where is iPhone 9?
Dunno man, maybe 9 sounded too much like Dog in Cantonese. Microsoft Windows also skipped 9 and went from 8 to 10, to be fair. Poor number 9. Nobody likes 9.
Or questions like, how many kidneys do I need to afford the iPhone X 256GB?
To be fair, the prices out there are without contract, so you are forking out S$1,888 for the iPhone X up front unless you don't plan to get it from the telcos.
Also, do remember that this is for a 256GB model. When the top-of-the-line 256GB model of the iPhone 7 Plus came out in 2016, it wasn't cheap either, selling at SGD1,588 without contract.
And finally questions like, is the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus good enough or should I wait for the X?
That is a the golden question, isn't it?
The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are fine phones, and they are a significant upgrade from the iPhone 7 series (wireless charging being one of them). They are essentially the matured second-gen models of the 7 and 7 Plus, and you should see the 8 series as such.
If you own a 6 series or 6s series, the 8 series is a nice jump.
But the iPhone X. It is not a jump. It is a leap in iPhone design.
Besides Face ID, I am looking forward to the X because of the gorgeous Super Retina screen that displays HDR. The entire phone is all screen. And because of that, it has a bigger screen but smaller body than the 8 Plus.
The 8 series HD Retina screen is an LCD IPS screen while the X screen is the latest OLED screen. The OLED screen of the X has darker blacks and better resolution and colour. I've seen it in person and that screen, oh so nice.
My only gripe is the little notch where the TrueDepth camera is. When you watch a movie at full screen, you have that little notch there blocking it a little. I hope Apple has a mode that lets me shrink my movie screen to just below the notch. (Update: The TrueDepth camera will not get in the way when watching a movie in regular aspect ratio, so you'll be fine. Only when you go full-screen and wrap the movie to the edge of the screen does the notch block part of your movie.)
Also, the cameras of the X are BOTH optically stabilized too. On the 8 series, only the Wide angle one is.
The tele lens of the X is f2.4, slightly better than the f2.8 aperture of the tele lens of the 8 Plus and 7 Plus series.
Face ID is very cool tech too. I know other smartphones have had Face Recognition before, the implementation of it isn't as sophisticated as the iPhone X's. It recognizes you with or without your glasses, or if change your hair.
It won't unlock if someone uses your face while you're sleeping (because your eyes need to be open). Though I cannot say if Face ID will be thrown off if you go for drastic plastic surgery.
Face ID isn't fooled by a photo of you. And, this is important, it doesn't send your facial info to any servers out there.
The entire facial recognition is done in-device. Apple went through a whole lot of trouble to design a neural engine — the A11 Bionic chip, and additional software, to do keep the Face ID processing within the iPhone X instead of handing it off to a cloud. So no, Apple doesn't store a copy of your face on their servers.
Because of that TrueDepth camera on the X that Face ID uses, you will also be able to do Portrait mode with BOTH the back and the front cameras. The 8 series can only do Portrait mode with the main camera. With the X, your selfies will be macam got bokeh.
Portrait Lighting, the advanced version of Portrait mode, will also work on both cameras of the X. Meaning your selfies can also have dramatic lighting.
The Animojis are very fun to do too. Only the X can currently send Animojis because it needs the TrueDepth selfie camera to read your face. I'm so going to send my wife messages with the talking chicken.
Finally, battery life. The X has a longer battery life (partly because of the OLED screen). It is rated at 2 hours more than an iPhone 7. Assuming the 8 series is about the same battery life as the 7 series, that makes the X the battery life king. And who doesn't like more battery life?
So there you go. My early thoughts on the iPhone 8 vs the iPhone X debate. I like the entire new lineup but if you ask me, is the X exciting to me? Yes, it is.
mrbrown and Mr Miyagi return for one of our talk cock sessions. In this 18-minute episode in four parts, we talk about the coming Reserved Presidential Election, presidential hair products, sponsored weddings, and Bidets.
Yes, as you probably expected, Transformers 5 is just as bad as the other four. Two and a half hours of robot rojak, mashed together in one set piece after another.
Did I enjoy it? Some of it here and there. The opening King Arthur sequence was exciting. You know, I would have enjoyed watching the entire King Arthur/Transformers story alone.
And the bit about Bumblebee’s WWII past was fun. But as the story builds up towards the final act, it all falls apart. By the last 30 minutes, you are wondering, WHAT KIND OF STUPID STORY IS THIS?
Since I am on an all-caps rant mode, let me share some of my peeves. And before you read on, I warn you there are some spoilers.
1. What was up with the over-sexualization of the new tween character, Izabella (Isabela Moner)? Michael Bay had her running sexily in a sexy tank top and to top it off, threw in cringeworthy come-ons from one of the boys who meet her in the first act. I understand if Michael Bay chose to objectify the previous Transformers women like Megan Fox, Rosie Alice Huntington-Whiteley and Nicola Peltz but come on, Isabela Moner is FIFTEEN.
2. The humans are mostly useless in this movie. In the end, the Autobots have to win the day. Not even Mark Wahlberg, whom I like, is given a useful role in the plot. They give you false hope when he looks like he was going to be THE CHOSEN ONE, and you wait for him to transform into some more epic, maybe a superhero human Transformer hybrid. Nope. Doesn’t happen. He mostly ends up making sure Viviane (Laura Haddock) doesn’t fall down because they need her to hold the staff (her one job). Oh, and he gets to raise a sword to rally the mythical Knights of Cybertron. Big fat whoop.
3. The super-annoying pandering and product placements for the China market. Come on, the American agencies are using Xin.com? And there was also one angmoh character listening to a music service that wasn’t Apple Music or Spotify, but some Chinese music service.
Peeves Rant over.
What saved the day was Anthony Hopkins and his butler robot, C3P0. Ok, that’s not his name, it’s Cogman, a four-feet high smart-ass Transformer who shoots missiles out of his mouth. I enjoyed their repartee and Anthony Hopkins looked like he was really having fun as the keeper of Transformer lore and secrets. I wish they had done something more with Cogman, who is a Headmaster. Nope, he remains solo in this movie, and doesn’t combine with other Headmasters. So you can park your excitement at the possibility of a Headmasters debut.
I also enjoyed seeing Bumblebee kick ass in this installment. And the introduction of the bad guys when Megatron asks for his squad to be assembled was cool: Mohawk! Dreadbot! Onslaught! Nitro! Berserker! Somewhat like an assembly of his Suicide Squad.
Seems this is the last Michael Bay foray at the Transformers franchise. Maybe we will get someone better at telling a story for the next instalment, instead of stringing together one action sequence after another. I am so tired of all the epic camera angles already. Everything is so epic when he directs. Even short little robots and tweens.
Aiyah, you are still going to watch the movie despite the one-star reviews. So go ahead, watch it. Just go in with lowered expectations and you should get through the two and a half hours. We need the movie to get new toys anyway.
It was another good WWDC 2017, this time in San Jose. A bit ulu compared to downtown San Francisco, if you ask me. But I am a city boy.
I enjoyed meeting my tech media friends again and hearing the new announcements for macOS, AppleOS, iOS and WatchOS. I even saw the famous Walt Mossberg, who is retiring from the tech journalism world.
What excited me the most?
1. The game Monument Valley 2 is out.
2. Apple Watches will have Toy Story faces.
3. The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro.
4. The new Apple HomePod speaker.
5. The new insane iMac Pro.
6. AR and VR coming to iOS and macOS devices.
and most of all, the iOS 11 improvements that will make iPads even closer to a laptop replacement. Drag and drop all the things!
I was going to do the video presentation myself but I will leave Kim Huat to give you the executive summary in this video because he hijacked my video production when I was in the toilet.
Me, trying to pull out the key Faith broke inside my bedroom door handle: "Darn it, my tools can't get it out."
Wife: "Here, try this pair of pliers!"
Me: "Ah good! Thanks. You know, I used to have needle-nose pliers just like these in my toolbox but I can't seem to find them."
Wife: "Oh, these are yours, from your toolbox. I er, borrowed them some time ago."
Me: ( ..•˘___˘• .. )
At one point, I even called the locksmith. Bear in mind, my iPhone was inside the locked master bedroom. So I came up with the idea of using my Apple Watch to call him.
"Siri, call Locksmith."
It worked! The Apple Watch connected to the iPhone inside the room via Bluetooth and dialed.
"Hello?" said the Locksmith, somewhat loudly.
"Is this Ah Boy? My key is broken inside the lock of my master bedroom!" I said, into the Watch.
"What kind of lock is it?" he said, impatiently, sounding like he was preoccupied with another job.
"It is the handle type of lock, you installed it for me the last time another key broke inside my old lock," I replied.
"I can't tell like that, you take a photo and send to me."
"But my phone is in the locked room, and I…" I tried to explain, but he hung up.
Magnet didn't work. Because the key wasn't made of magnetic metal. In the end, I managed to tease the broken half of the key out with surgical precision, after trying for half an hour with different tools and pliers. In the end, I teased the broken key out with two nail files.
I held the broken key in my hand and raised it high. like I just pulled out King Arthur's Excalibur from the Stone.
Small victories like this make a simple man happy. And also saving the ninety bucks that it would have cost me to get Ah Boy to come down and drill out the old lock, and replace it with a new one.